Joaquin Phoenix labels Leonardo DiCaprio ‘an inspiration’

By Tom Horton, PA

Joaquin Phoenix has hailed Leonardo DiCaprio as “an inspiration” after joking that the actor has beaten him to several roles.

Speaking at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Phoenix said that earlier in his career he would always “lose to this one kid” when auditioning for parts.

Phoenix made the comments after picking up a best actor award in Los Angeles for his portrayal of a troubled loner in Joker.

He told the audience: “When I started acting again and going to auditions again I’d always get to like the final callback and I think many people know what that’s like.

“And there would always be like two other guys that I’d be up against and we would always lose to this one kid and no actor would ever say his name because it was like too much.

“But every casting director would whisper and be like ‘it’s Leonardo, it’s Leonardo’.

“Who is this Leonardo?”

Phoenix thanked DiCaprio for being an inspiration for over 25 years (Matt Sayles/AP)

DiCaprio, who was in the audience, could be seen laughing at Phoenix’s joke.

Phoenix added: “Leonardo, you have been an inspiration for over 25 years to me and so many people.

“I thank you very, very much.”

The audience then gave a round of applause for the actor.

Another tribute at the ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium was led by DiCaprio, who delivered a glowing speech about Robert De Niro.